Tag Archives: 2017

Leaseholder survey 2017 – what do you think?

Introduction

Leaseholders in Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) might be interested in the 2017 Leaseholders survey. Rather surprisingly this survey has received a low profile in the following meetings;

  • Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) – not as yet received a mention at the meetings of 12 December 2017, 12 February 2018 or 17 July 2018.
  • Borough Residents Forum (BRF) – no mention at the meeting of 11 January 2018 and a minor mention at meeting 7 June 2018 (received a slight mention and more on this later)
  • Housing and Regeneration Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HROSC) – 18 January 2018, 20 June 2018 (received a slight mention and more on this later)

Borough Residents Forum (BRF) 7 June 2018

There was a presentation given to members of the BRF which was not provided before the meeting meaning there was no time to review the information prior to the BRF meeting. This presentation is located in a presentation titled ‘Performance 2017/18 and Key Priorities 2018/19’.

Page three refers to the survey condensed into one line, HNW024.

Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HROSC) 20 June 2018

The survey was barely discussed at this meeting and it was interesting how this 32 page document was condensed into one line with no comments. Refer to Paper 18-162, page 16, comment HRW024, which refers to 60% satisfaction. Looking the survey this seems to have been taken from Figure 1 on page 2 and the 60% satisfied is a total of 17% ‘Very satisfied’ + ‘43% Fairly satisfied’. We’ll let you to decide on whether ‘Fairly satisfied’ should count as ‘Satisfied’.

However, at this meeting, Councillor Claire Gilbert did ask about whether this would be discussed in more detail.

Examples of some of the feedback

Given water sprinklers is a contentious topic at the moment the following might be of interest, which is taken from page 24;

Thought – note that ‘improve communication’ has been highlighted in number 3?

With the being the case, we can provide some examples where this has not been lived up to since this report was produced in November 2017;

Note the comment about water sprinklers and this survey is dated November 2017 and ask yourself whether this communication has been appropriately addressed?

 Summary

It would be good to understand how the Council follows up these reports. For instance, off the back of the report there should, one would imagine, be an action plan of some sort which highlights what action is to be taken off the back of it and the progress measured against this. Otherwise, what’s the point of these suveys?

Caveats

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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 Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section. Please note that if an email is sent any response might be part of a generic group email.

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Resident Association speaks against retro-fitting water sprinklers at Council meeting (18 January 2018)

Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of 14 September 2017 a resident from the Alton Estate spoke at the Council meeting against the need for retro-fitting water sprinklers in tall buildings. This is covered in Paper 17-269A.

Now the Edgecombe Hall Estate Residents’ Association SW19 (West Hill) provides their views at the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee of 18 January 2018. This is covered in Paper 18-12A.

From the Paper’s Summary it states – “This report sets out a request by Mr. Young, on behalf of Edgecombe Hall Estate Residents’ Association SW19 (West Hill), for the Committee to receive their deputation under Standing Order No.13 in connection with the Council’s proposal to install sprinkler systems in tower blocks of ten or more storeys, (which is subject to the Council making a proactive application to a First Tier Property Tribunal which will determine the Council’s ability to undertake the works; leaseholders objecting to the programme will be encouraged to make representations to the Tribunal) as set out in Paper No. 18-12”.

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

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Leaseholder emails Council Committee about retro-fitting water sprinklers raising queries and questions

The attendance of concerned and interested parties at the Wandsworth Borough Council Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee of 18 January 2018 were many, in fact, the viewing gallery was almost full.

The below email highlights meeting observations of one individual who emailed all of the Councillors who sit on this Committee.

 __________________________________________

 To: Councillor Aydin Dikerdem; Councillor Charles Lescott; Councillor Claire Clay; Councillor Ian Hart; Councillor Jane Cooper; Councillor Nick Cuff; Councillor Paul White; Councillor Stuart Thom; Councillor Sue McKinney;
Cc: Thayyiba Shaah;  Councillor Jeremy Ambache; Councillor Peter Carpenter; Scott Couldridge; Councillor Malcom Grimston;
Sent: Saturday, 20 January 2018, 17:04
Subject: Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 18/1/18 – thoughts from the gallery

Dear Councillors,

It must have been a delight to see the gallery so full of interested individuals.

The following are 12 points which are observations (which is hoped may be of some benefit) and queries which I seek clarity on please.

Please note that many residents are ‘bcc’ into this email.

  1. By the numbers……..

Shambolic, the Councillor that asked how many leaseholders could provide a view at the First Tier Property Tribunal should have known this number, in fact, all Councillors who are on this Committee should have this information to hand. It was within Council Paper 17-269 which was submitted at this very Committee on September 14th 2017. Perhaps it might assist if the numbers were shared with you all, it was within footnote #2 which stated that“Wandsworth Council has 99 blocks of ten storeys or more containing 6,401 residential flats and maisonettes – 4,043 tenanted, 1,315

resident leaseholders and 1,043 away leaseholders”. So, this means that 2,358 leaseholders can provide a view at the First Tier Property Tribunal, not the“1,400” mentioned at this meeting.

Any Councillor with some level of interest may even wish to know per ward – how many buildings are impacted per ward, the split of leaseholders (residents and away leaseholders) along with the number of tenants. Each Councillor would, I’d like to think, have a handle on the numbers within footnote #2 and how this may be of relevance to their ward? Perhaps this is taking too much interest?

Did you know that of the “99 blocks of ten storeys or more” it seems that Allbrook House is included within this 99? Just in case you were not aware this is scheduled for demolition as part of the Alton Estate regeneration so the Council might be saving some pennies?

  1. First Tier Property Tribunal (FTPT)

One of the outcomes of this meeting was that it seemed that at least two of the Councillors on this Committee appeared to have had little idea of what this FTPT is all about. If true, how can a Councillor make such decisions involving such vast sums of funds without knowing what this FTPT is and the potential challenges the Council could face?

After the planning fiasco of the portacabins (planning application 2016/5912) through which one of the ward Councillors was to provide a representation to the Council Planning Application Committee though did not as it seems that Councillor was not aware of what delegated powers Council planning officers had, it might be prudent that Councillors receive a mandatory welcome pack explaining some aspects of what they need to know, such as what can or may not be submitted to a Planning Application Committee, or that the Council is a freeholder and leaseholders, believe or not, have rights too and what these rights are.

In any event, please find a link which provides some background as to what a FTPT is – https://www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/first-tier-tribunal-property-chamber

  1. Costs – lack of faith in Council estimates

Given that in Paper 18-12 the cost of the cladding regarding Sudbury House and Castlemaine went from £6m to £18.286m (this being the additional provision of £12.286m mentioned within this paper) then to what is the degree is there a level of confidence in the Council’s £24m allocation (Section 15, Paper 17-269) for retrofitting water sprinklers? If the costs doubled to £48m or £72m will the Council still be amenable to this endeavour?

On a much lower level, perhaps the recent example of major works for maisonettes on the Alton Estate may provide an example of why leaseholders could be sceptical of the Council’s estimates. A letter dated 20th March 2014 for “Notice of Intention – External Redecoration & Associated Repairs” was for £2,586.92. A letter only seven months later, 13th October 2014, for “External Redecoration & Associated Repairs” was for £4,864.90. That is almost double the cost within seven months. It is hoped that the Council is confident regarding the sums involved.

  1. Costs – to leaseholders

One of the 99 buildings impacted from the Manresa neighbourhood has paid the princely sum of £12,475.05 for a two bedroom flat within a 13 month period as calculated below;

2016 (paid in October 2016)

£880.00 major works

£1,152.44 for the annual service charge

2017 (paid in October 2017)

£9,446 for major works

£996.61 for the usual annual service charge

Part of the reason for regeneration in this area is due to the levels of deprivation, so how the Council thinks many of the residents in this ward  can keep emptying their pockets to pay for these works is a query that has to be posed to you?

In other words, the sum mentioned in the comment “these costs (approximately £3,000 to £4,000) will be imposed upon leaseholders with relatively short notice” (section 17, Paper 17-269) could perhaps double or triple if using the cladding increased costs as a proxy.

Referring again to section 17 within Paper 17-269 the comment “An extension beyond 48 months may draw criticism from other leaseholders facing relatively substantial bills for major works, for example in 2015/16 1,231 leaseholders were billed for major works charges in excess of £3,000” might be worth re-doing with 2016/17 in mind to focus on the costs applied to these 99 impacted buildings. 13 of the 99 impacted buildings which are on the Alton Estate have paid, or are paying, for the installation of double glazing works which means that just with this sample that circa 700 leaseholders would have easily paid over £3,000 (which the example on point 4 highlights) in service charges which stacks up heavily versus the Borough wide figure of 1,231 mentioned earlier.

Section 18 of Paper 17-269 refers to “The Council operates a service charge relief scheme in cases of hardship, with the Director of Resources having delegated authority to grant financial relief on a case by case basis, which could be accessed by a leaseholder with genuine difficulty in meeting the additional costs. This could be through offering extended payment terms to qualifying leaseholders or through a reduction in the overall amount billed as approved in Paper No.15-422”. If not familiar with the detail of this paragraph it might be a suggestion to start looking at it as there is already a lot of concern from residents regarding affording additional major work costs.

  1. Impact on tenants and leaseholders – time off work

Do not underestimate the impact of this. The very recent double glazing of the same flat referred to in section 4 has gone well beyond the two days of inconvenience that was suggested it would be.

In fact, it might be something for the Council to consider that leaseholders should recharge the Council for time off work which goes beyond the promised timescale.

  1. No challenge to Councillor Rory O’Broin regarding numbers

It was fascinating that Mr Cameron Young, the gent that provided a deputation on behalf of Edgecombe Hall Residents Association, was grilled on the numbers of leaseholders and tenants that he represented, yet no Councillor asked the same of Councillor O’Brien? It would have been interesting to understand the detail of the numbers that Councillor O’Brien was representing especially as three of the five Resident Associations mentioned in section 7 (Paper 18-12) are from St Mary’s Park.

  1. Leeds Building Society mention

The mention of Leeds Building Society not providing mortgages to tall buildings without water sprinklers needs to be taken in context. Using figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, this lender has 1% of the market for the value of mortgages outstanding as of 2016 and ranks 15th. Information on market share can be obtained from the following link – https://www.cml.org.uk/documents/largest-mortgage-lenders-2016/2largest-mortgage-lenders-2016.xlsx

  1. Leaseholders position understated

Section 7 of Paper 18-12 states the following – “There has been some resistance from leaseholders to date: objections have been lodged by five residents’ associations (Battersea High St RA (St Mary’s Park), Ethelburga Tower RA (St Mary’s Park), Andrew Reed House RA (West Hill), Edgecombe Hall RA (West Hill) and Totteridge House RA (St Mary’s Park)), a small number of individuals from other blocks and one non-resident indicating they were opposed to the Council’s decision to impose the retro-fitting of works and recharge leaseholders”.

It is very surprisingly that the Alton Estate, with 42 of the 99 buildings impacted, is not mentioned. Two Residents Associations have made representations, Cadnam Point and Finchdean House. Many leaseholders have made their views known to both Councillor Cooper and Councillor McKinney. The Alton Leaseholders has started largely as a reaction to retor-fitting water sprinklers, and currently has 60 out of the circa 700 leaseholders impacted with the expectation that this number will grow when more leaseholders become aware that, at present, they are to be charged for this (though first, they need to become aware of the water sprinklers situation as many are not familiar with it).

Furthermore, the Western Area Housing Panel of 11th September 2017 had a challenging debate around the topic.

In any event, thank you to Councillor Grimston for acknowledging the concerns of leaseholders from the Alton Estate during this meeting.

  1. Fire Risk Assessments

Apologies if I missed this in the various Council documents, though the Fire Risk Assessments of 2016 do not appear to have been mentioned. As Councillors, have any of you taken the time to review one of these reports?

Within them section 2.6.8 asks “Are sprinkler systems present?” and the response in the report is “Not required”. Bearing in mind that section 9 of Paper 17-269 states that “The standard Wandsworth right to buy lease gives the Council the right “to do such things as the Council may decide are necessary to ensure the efficient maintenance administration or security of the Block” and it is considered that this provision enables the Council to retro-fit sprinklers in individual leasehold flats. „Security‟ in this context includes safety, which properly and reasonably includes facilities and equipment to fight and prevent the spread of fire” this view, to a layman, would seem to be contradicted by the Fire Risk Assessment, unless the Council is not standing by the content of the Fire Risk Assessments?

  1. Borough Resident Forum (BRF) Vice Chair personal views

It is questionable whether the Vice Chair of the BRF is permitted to be providing personal views on topics discussed at this meeting. An answer on this query is requested please.

  1. BRF paper 18-11

Having taken a hard copy of the Agenda which contains various documents it is noticed that Paper 18-11 was not within it and therefore likely not read by Councillors prior to the meeting? Please confirm if this is the case and whether this should be the case?

If of interest, I have various emails which can be shared with regards to the time lag of placing the BRF papers online.

  1. Is all the information that is available being shared?

The meeting of this Committee on 14th September 2017 makes no reference to the letter dated 1st August 2017 sent by MP Justine Greening to Alok Sharma, MP for Department for Communities and Local Government, which raises the question about funding for retro-fitting water sprinklers and removal of cladding. The letter seems to have been sent on behalf of Wandsworth Council? MP Sharma responded on 3rd September 2017, which states that when Councils have an idea of what work is deemed essential that the starting position is that they should fund these measures. Perhaps more detail regarding the discussions concerning potential Government funding should be provided?

Given Papers 17-269 and 18-12 have been referred to above a few times, they have been added below for reference.

17-269 –https://democracy.wandsworth.gov.uk/documents/s52192/Update%20on%20fire%20safety%20arrangements%20in%20Wandsworth%20Councils%20housing%20stock.pdf

18-12 –

https://democracy.wandsworth.gov.uk/documents/s55013/Fire%20Safety%20Update.pdf

There may have been more points to add, and more may be added in due course, though it is hoped that the above provides some feedback which is of benefit.

_________________________________________

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

To receive blog articles as they are uploaded please ‘follow’ the blog.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

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For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Bessborough Road/Petersfield Rise Consultation #2

Well, it’s round 2 of the Bessborough Road/Petersfield Rise Consultation.

As a reminder, there was a pre-application consultation

This time around;

There was some fun and games regarding the dates which the Alton Regeneration Watch (ARW) spotted and has since been corrected. Not Wandsworth BC also had some fun with this.

This is part 4 of the Alton East recent planning works which people should be aware of. If you are concerned about car parking or general developments in the area, especially the Alton East, there is a lot happening on the planning front and residents might wish to take an interest in this planning application.

The first is the Heathmere School Keeper’s House, Alton Road, SW15 4LJ, planning application (2016/7179) which is in the process of being built now. This is for six apartments with no car parking.

The second was the (in)famous planning application for 66 Alton Road, SW15 4NJ (2017/3082) which was for 24 apartments and with questionable car parking quotas? This was withdrawn though can always come back.

The third which is pending and has not been formally launched yet is the planning application for Pocklington Court. A pre-planning Consultation was provided though not many people were invited or aware of this. Roehampton Voice provides a quick view of this –https://www.facebook.com/RoehamptonVoice/videos/1545465088833192/

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

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Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

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Hersham Close RA makes another positive local contribution

Recently there have been a few articles on this blog regarding the Hersham Close Residents Association (HCRA) and the good stuff it has been working on in order to improve the local area on the Alton Estate. Examples are the new motorcycle parking bays and the new footpath nearby Whitelands College. This latest contribution took some time to get there though the area in question now looks much improved.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, there is an electricity substation near Hersham Close 41-71 which for many years has looked rather unloved. The following photos are taken from February 2016 and highlight that the area was used for fly tipping and generally allowed to grow freestyle.

After some nudging, this area gradually started being tidied up as the following photos from September 2016 highlight.

Unfortunately, not much happened with this patch of land despite persistence from HCRA as there was confusion regarding the ownership of the land. The following photos taken in September and October 2017 highlight the area still needed some attention.

However, working with the Council’s Resident Participation Officer this finally got over line and improvements to the area are being made via the Small Improvement Budget (SIB) and now it’s time to watch the grass grow. The work, as detailed at the Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) of 4 December 2017, was “To convert a weedy hard standing surface to grass. Total cost: £1,060.03 (Horitcultural Section)”. The following photo was taken in December 2017.

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

 Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

 Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

 

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

 

Roehampton Partnership (21 November 2017) – comments from the gallery

This meeting of the Roehampton Partnership (RP) was rather underwhelming according to one attendee’s view. The following comments relate to that attendee’s view and obviously others that attended may have a different view of the following contents.

  1. Apologies for absence

There were many attendees that were absent, including the Chair and Vice Chair, and Councillor Mrs Steffi Sutters was the Chair for this evening. There were at least nine absences plus two roles which have not yet been filled.

Interesting, the representatives from University of Roehampton and University of Roehampton Student Union did not attend. This non-attendance was noticed and will be commented on later in this article though bear the following meeting dates in mind when considering this;

  • 21 September 2016 – University of Roehampton attended
  • 23 November 2016 – University of Roehampton Student Union attended
  • 15 March 2017 – University of Roehampton Student Union attended
  • 14 June 2017 – was cancelled.
  • 26 September 2017 – neither attended.
  • 21 November 2017 – neither attended.
  • 14 March 2018 – date of next meeting

In other words, if the University of Roehampton attends the meeting of 14 March 2018 that would be almost one and a half years between attending meetings, and one year for the University of Roehampton Student Union.

  1. Declarations of Interest

There was none.

  1. Minutes – 26th September 2017

Hersham Close Residents Association (HCRA) mentioned the following regarding;

  • Matters Arising – the follow up to be provided by Ibstock School was not given though the HCRA asked for this after the meeting.
  • Alton Area Regeneration – it was their suggestion to have Paper 17-268 included within the meeting which was taken up by the Chair.
  • Future Agenda Items – there was no mention of the request to include the retro-fitting of water sprinklers within tall buildings and that this was declined by the Chair.
  1. Alton Area Regeneration

There was quite a bit mentioned under this section.

The Redrow PR team, Communications Potential, apologised that Redrow could not attend due to some reason or other. Interestingly, Redrow did not appear at the Western Area Housing Panel (WAHP) of the 4 December 2017 either due to conflicting schedules. Given Redrow are about to begin work on a major regeneration in the area one might think more effort by Redrow to appear at such meetings may not too much to ask. The PR team provided some information regarding how many people attended the recent exhibitions and the feedback from them.

HCRA raised the issue that not all residents were aware that the Bessborough Road Consultation was held on 15 November 2017. It turns out that Councillors Peter Carpenter and Jeremy Ambache were not aware either of the event though Councillor Sur McKinney commented she was aware. HCRA asked whether this consultation would be presented at the RP and the silence appeared to indicate this was not going to happen.

HCRA also mentioned that various related regeneration items should be raised at the RP and were currently not, these being the Bessborough Road Consultation, Council Papers such as 17-268, and the Environmental Impact Assessment. A Council representative highlighted that we could comment on the planning application, which seemed to defeat the purpose of this advisory group and might be a bit late in terms of providing any feedback?

Councillor Ambache suggested that all regeneration documents should come to the RP first before going to the various Council Committees though this did not garner much support, even from Councillors Carpenter and McKinney. One might argue that this makes sense given the RP’s role?

  1. Public Health Regeneration

There was a short presentation though it seems as though there has not really been any substantial move forward on this topic or ‘social regeneration’.

The HCRA suggested that it might be worthwhile reaching out to Wandsworth Voluntary Sector Co-oridnation Project Manager who provides regular useful updates on grants and health initiatives. To which the presenter commented that she was to meet with this team the following week. The HCRA also suggested that it might be worthwhile having a Roehampton based such distribution, accepting that not all residents on the Alton estate have internet access, though this might be useful.

  1. Transport for London (TfL)

TfL did not attend.

  1. Future Agenda Items

None were mentioned.

  1. Future Meeting Dates

HCRA asked if there was a reason for five meetings dates next year when there are usually four. A person from the Council mentioned that one could always be removed. HCRA followed up with an ask about whether these dates linked in with events next year as this may have been the case for the extra date. The answer from the Council person was that there was likely an error in producing the dates.

The Roehampton Forum member asked if any of these meetings could be held at the University of Roehampton as then it might attend a meeting.

Please note that all information is provided on a best efforts basis and that readers should make their own efforts to review and assess the provided content.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Weekly Council Planning applications and decisions (30 December 2017)

Given there is so much happening in the ward at the moment, it might be worth residents keeping a watch on what is being planned for the Alton Estate. So, on a best endeavours basis, we’ll try to include this section.

The page numbers refer to the Wandsworth Borough Council’s (WBC) planning applications and decisions for the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward. Whilst every effort is made to highlight the page numbers and present the information below it is always best for the reader to have a read of the original Council documents just in case any errors have been made.

Applications

Appears to be no applications for this week.

Decisions

Appears to be no decisons for this week.

Click on this sentence to take you to the Weekly List of planning applications and decisions.

If interested in searching for more information about a planning application, go to the Wandsworth Borough Council’s ‘Searching planning applications’ webpage.

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

For a different view of Roehampton, especially the Alton Estate

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Or email your local Member of Parliament at;